Blogs: On Your Market / Colored Stones / Designers

Britt’s Pick: Sphene and Turquoise Necklace by Brenda Smith


Located in the Design Collective of JCK Las Vegas, consistently a favorite neighborhood to meet new and established jewelry creators, was Brenda Smith—a designer based in Woodstock, Ga., who makes the most wonderful things.

I dropped by to see Smith’s Gibson Girl earrings, a recent Britt’s Pick for their picturesque beauty. In person, they were even better—weighty and substantial, absolutely wonderful to touch. If I had had an extra day in Las Vegas, I might have spent its entirety at Smith’s booth—there were certainly enough treasures there to keep my eyes busy, enriched with stories of inspiration and detail from the designer to keep ears entertained too.

If asked to select a favorite from the works on display, I’m tempted to answer “all of them,” but it’s this necklace that feels the timely choice to highlight here and now.

As far as current trends go, this piece checks plenty of boxes. Orangey gemstones and gold chains, statement stature, and one of the show’s most buzzworthy gemstones, Sleeping Beauty turquoise.

What looks like enamel is actually that Sleeping Beauty turquoise, cut to fit the shapes that look like four-leaf clovers or Celtic knots, depending on what you’re inclined to see. This was no small detail—Brenda specifically designed the necklace to include the variation of turquoise, not deterred even when it proved harder (and more expensive) than expected to procure. The necklace features four of those shapes—the three pictured and one behind, at the clasp.

That glorious center stone, which has not been done justice by the photo alone, is a sphene. Flashes of brown, green, and yellow radiate from this gem, which sparkles like a diamond and bursts with color. It’s positively mesmerizing. The other gemstones in the piece are natural, unheated zircons, acting as the design’s fabulous supporting players.

Three rows of drapey yellow gold chain elevate the necklace further, “cinched” by the brooch-like gemstone clusters—the pinned-on look is another burgeoning trend.

Top: Necklace in 18k yellow gold with sphene, zircons, and Sleeping Beauty turquoise, price on request; Brenda Smith

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By: Brittany Siminitz

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